Flavio Briatore, Nelson Piquet Jnr, Shanghai, 2009

2009 ban was because Renault were “too powerful” – Briatore

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In the round-up: Flavio Briatore claims his expulsion from Formula One over the Crashgate affair in 2009 was because the FIA believed Renault was “too powerful”.

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  • 66 comments on “2009 ban was because Renault were “too powerful” – Briatore”

    1. I think you’ll find the ban was because you fixed a freaking race, Flavio!

      1. If he had the reasoning skills and critical thinking abilities to see it that way, would he have fixed the race in the first place ?

        1. ColdFly F1 (@)
          8th February 2016, 8:36

          We should all first read the article! @aiera-music, @texasisbiggerthanfrance
          Flavio is NOT quoted saying that the “ban was because Renault were too powerful”!

          PS – that does not make me despise the guy any less for what he did.

          1. Thank you for saying so @coldfly, the interview actually is pretty interesting and a good read.

          2. I did indeed read the article. It still comes across as Flavio feeling convicted because of his position in the sport, and with Renault; not just the race-fix.

      2. Scum of the earth. His ban should be for life.

        1. And Ron Dennis for 2007 but he is back now. Shame F1 should be rid of these scum and as a nice aside for their fans McLaren would likely be far better off and a more likeable outfit for everyone else.

      3. If the FIA had wanted to kick Flavio out for being too powerful, they would have done it towards the end of 2007, when the team was caught in a similar situation to the McLaren/Ferrari spying-with-photocopiers scandal and didn’t have the $100 million McLaren had to “pay off” an equally hard financial penalty.

        As it stands, the kick-out was because the FIA decided to practise leniency in the Nelsinho Defence, since technically the correct penalty was to boot out the entire team with all hands on deck.

        Apex Assassin, if Max Mosley had his way, Flavio would have been banned for life. The only it isn’t is because a French court later found that a life ban exceeded the FIA’s own maximum limits for bans, and that it was against EU law for anyone other than a state to issue a life ban. As such, the FIA was forced to negotiate a shorter ban for Flavio and Pat Symonds (and had to pay a modest amount of compensation to both).

    2. Oh Flavio, you little weasel. You deliberately put someone in harms way in order to fix a sporting event. You should be spouting this garbage from a prison cell. Please just leave our sport alone.

      1. Weasel? I think of him more as a walrus, especially when he would sit on the pit wall sweating profusely (just not sure if that was climate related or wondering if one of his dastardly plans was going to be revealed)

    3. While I don’t find Flav to be a man of admirable morals, it must be said that most of the verdicts coming from FIA in these kind of situations don’t have any more credibility than Flav’s morals either.
      I don’t remember if it was Mosley, or Todt was already in the office, but these things were used as personal vendetas, as much as they were about finding some justice.
      Flav and Ron Dennis were very much a torn in Mosley’s eye, because they wouldn’t play into his and Bernie’s games, while at the same time having too much weight due to the success of their teams. So, Mosley used every opportunity possible to deliver his personal revenge, which was often factoring more in his judgement than any real justice.

      1. It´s nice to rewatch the pre-race-show of Silverstone 2009. Everybody talking about a break-away series, 8 teams ready to join (as stated by the pro-break-away faction, Mosley stated it was 4 teams), Flavio would have been the quasi-Bernie in that series, Toyota and BMW were known supporters outside Renault. Some weeks later, Flavio had a lifetime-ban, Toyota and BMW were leaving…
        Fixing Singapore 2008 may be enough to deserve a lifetime-ban, but would it be enough to make Mosley/Ecclestone ban you for life?

        That said, if we ever know enough about Briatore´s life to make a full biography, the guy whose first business partner died in an unresolved case of car-bombing, who was found not guilty in most of the fraud-cases against him and somehow managed to get amnesty for those where he was found guilty, who dated (and impregnated) more than one worldfamous model, and also lead a F1-team through wins, championships and cheating-accusations (which began long before singapore, just think of traction-control)… it would be an interesting biopic. I´d buy movie-tickets.

        1. I agree. He was a despicable character and no matter how tainted his life is, you cannot deny that he was one of the most interesting characters in the paddock.

          1. The problem for F1, guys, is that there are still too many really dubious characters running or financially connected with the sport. F1 is doing a poor job of leaving behind with the used duct tape and shattered carbon fibre, all the bent and seriously corrupt ‘colourful’ characters of it’s history.

            From the very pinnacle of current F1 commercial operations right down through the entrails of the sport, there are people still running free who could keep the law courts occupied for a decade with the exposure their extremely ‘unorthodox’ ways of conducting their business.

            The stench is pretty revolting. Anyone volunteering to clean out the stables once and for all ?

            1. The problem for F1, guys, is that there are still too many really dubious characters running or financially connected with the sport.

              Is that a problem? Or was that part of the soap-opera one of the entertaining aspects that made F1 so fascinating to watch?
              Everything “dubious” always means there´s some info about it, but not enough to fully see what´s going on. A lot of successful TV-series create suspense and viewer engagement exactly this way, giving something to speculate, creating outrages again and again, keep on surprising.

              Todays F1 is lacking dubious characters, or at least info about it. It´s lacking stories.

      2. Briatore conspired to fix a race by jeopardising the safety not just of one of his drivers, but also spectators and marshals, and you think he was banned because of some personal vendetta?

        1. The FIA has acted in a biased matter in some cases. It happens on this occasion its penalty was lighter than the standard penalty (to the team)… …and still harder than legal to Flavio himself (because, among other things, the FIA forgot to give itself the right to issue bans longer than a season beforehand).

        2. I don’t think any life was risked in that crash, it was a calculated crash. there is far worse cheating going on outside the cockpit by the corporations involved in f1. I think it is obvious that there is more to the story behind crashgate then we will ever find out. the crash itself could be one of the most insignificant pieces of the story if it ever all comes out, I hear a lot of merit in Briatore’s interview, he won the game on the track with many cars, but lost the war of the fat cats and control.

          1. there is far worse cheating going on outside the cockpit by the corporations involved in f1.

            And how much of that (assuming there’s enough to report on) involves smashing cars into barriers right below a grandstand?

      3. Sure Biggsy, the FIA under Mosley certainly was not transparent nor fair. But Flav has been pretty close to Bernie most of the time, they even got together in football at the time of Singapore, and Bernie is almost certain to have tried to protect Flav.

        It might have been a good time to ban him to get rid of a trouble maker (and the way this came out shows even more dirt on his plate). But the whole thing happened and he was rightfully thrown out of the sport for it.

      4. Sky UK did a programme on him that gets aired now and then on Sky F1 – it’s worth a watch and it shows what a colourful character he is/was in F1.

        As for blame, there aren’t many clean books in F1 when it comes to team bosses and if the world wants to believe that he’s the only man to fix a race in the past 30 years then it’s a very naive world. F1 is supposed to be about entertainment and Flav’s an entertaining character. Sure, he’s a cheat and he denies it to this day but there’s no question that he was labelled a cheat and banned for life to serve as a scapegoat – hese big trial situations in sport

    4. 2009 ban was because ‘Briatore cheated’ – the rest of Formula One

    5. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      8th February 2016, 0:25

      That caption. Utterly brilliant!

      1. Yeah, it’s gold, haha. :)

    6. I have a hard time believing F1 is easier to enter these days for engine suppliers. Maybe Mercedes just haven’t noticed Honda at the back of the grid.

      1. I don’t think it has anything to do with how easy or difficult it is. It has to do with the value that comes from developing these engines. The technical and engineering knowledge that Honda is developing in order to fight in F1 now has tremendous value to their organization, or else they wouldn’t be spending the millions it is costing to do it.

      2. @eriko

        Honda are the perfect example of how what Cowell is saying is right. They pulled out during the V8 era with zero interest in F1 any more despite having developed the best chassis and having a pretty good engine.

        But the turbo hybrid era has brought them back, despite developing the worst engine and partnering with a team with the 3rd to 5th best chassis.

      3. Honda had the worst engine in the v8 era when they left in 2008 so I do not think it is the engine formula. Honda are just rubbish.

    7. I would like to make an honest response to the race-fixer of GP history Briatore’s comments on this site, but it would be filled with four letter words and other expletives. So I will refrain.

    8. 2009 ban was because Renault were “too powerful”

      Excuse me while I sew my sides back together…

      1. @raceprouk I would like to hear Christian Horner’s view on Renault being ‘too powerful’.

        Actually, no, I wouldn’t…

      2. Perhaps it would have been more useful if Renault were “too powerful” on-track, instead of, say, in Flavio’s imagination. Renault gave much of its power to Flavio Briatore in that era, so for him to suggest Renault was too powerful is a tad disingenious…

    9. Truly one of the slimiest, most disgusting weasels to ever walk the face of this earth.

      1. He should have known there is only room for one corrupt megalomaniac in F1… Bernie

    10. “I have become an honest man” – Briatore

      I’m still waiting for the day that this headline will pop up. It would be priceless.

      1. @kingshark …before being promptly withdrawn because it would be libel?

    11. Briatore is a criminal who ordered his second driver (Piquet) to crash into the wall, so that its protected driver Alonso could win a race that year (Singapore, 2008).
      It’s a shame that there are journalists who continue interviewing him.
      It is immoral.

      1. Agreed.

        Add to that, it’s a shame Alonso still employs him. How does it make you feel Alonso keeps that win in his tally?


        1. Seeing as he had to hold off the rest of the field for about 47 laps with what was actually quite a good drive on a weekend were the Renault actually showed good pace in FP, yes he should still count it.

          No, I am not condoning Flav’s actions. I am just saying that Alonso did still have a long way to go and that the safety car Piquet caused by no means sealed the deal for him.

      2. I don’t reckon PK was ordered to crash @jorge-lardone , I think it was to spin and stall, but unlike in his practice run he bottled it with a slight lift part way through, and that steered him towards the wall. You can just hear the lift in the onboard iirc.

        So while it wasn’t good, it wasn’t the worst thing ever in F1 (which for me might be Max’s role in spygate, or perhaps his role in selling F1 to Bernie).

        1. @lockup

          You can just hear the lift in the onboard iirc.

          there was no onboard footage ever shown of piquet’s crash because according to fom his onboard camera was not active at the time (i think they can only have 9 or 10 running at a time?).

          1. I didn’t know how bad FB was before he even started in F1. Sounds like he should have been in jail already, not available for F1. I notice the article strangely glosses over the whole debacle that was FB’s management of Benetton the F1 team. Perhaps it’s a whole book in itself. The car running illegally low, the fuel valve removal that caused them to have a fire in the pits which is how the cheating was caught, the illegal traction control. The joke became that the FIA was incapable of policing for Benetton’s illegal use of engine mapping for traction control so they went to Silicon Valley to hire the best software engineer only to be told he already works for Benetton. I suspect Max and Bernie loved FB initially because they are of the same ilk, but when FB took it too far MM and BE, hnded by the media, orchestrated the move of MS away from embarrassing Benetton a year short of MS’s contract, and along with MS much of the cheating crew, and over to Ferrari they went to end the Ferrari WDC drought and create a new chapter in F1 post-Senna by shaping everything to prop up MS as F1’s new and highly controversial icon.

          2. Ah okay @PeterG, it must have been some other footage where you could hear his engine. I can’t find it now so I guess FOM have cleaned house. Anyway his practice spin on the warmup lap is enough of a clue I reckon.

            Yeah @Robbie I didn’t know Flav had already done a runner from the law either. He and Tom Walkinshaw were a right pair, really.

          3. At the time, I think the maximum cameras was 8 (this was just as HD cameras were coming in, and once the extra data had been accommodated, the limit went up considerably).

            1. @alianora-la-canta Since the system used to pick up the in-car camera feeds was switched to a digital ground based setup in late 2005 they have been able to get shots from 9 cars at any given time. Prior to that when we used the analog heli-link we could only get 4.

              Also they never switched to to HD in-car cameras, In late 2009 they started phasing in higher resolution native 16:9 units but they were still SD. They were testing HD units towards the end of last season & last I heard the plan was to start using them on the broadcast for this year.

            2. @gt-racer Thank you for correcting me!

        2. The plan hinged on the incident being at the one corner a crane could not reach. This was due to a lack of run-off. Spinning and stalling there, mid-pack, would have been reckless as to whether this caused a foreseeable crash or not (and with the lack of run-off, and reaction space/time being short, crashes in that situation would be highly foreseeable) would have put the team in no better position than a direct command to crash, at least in the eyes of the law.

          1. Well I don’t know @alianora-la-canta. Max was the law he could do whatever he wanted, as he showed by getting rid of Ron for what Whitmarsh and Ryan did while Ron wasn’t even there! But in terms of how harshly WE judge Flav, Flav was furious on the radio about PK’s incompetence. He wasn’t supposed to hit the wall.

            PK wasn’t in a pack really. If he’d spun to the inside, off line, he’d have been fine, but they’d have to have called the SC as you say. It was cheating, but it wasn’t planned as a crash I feel pretty sure. There are degrees of everything, and for me it wasn’t quite as bad as Flav sacrificing a driver’s health for a win.

            1. Max wasn’t the law, he just thought he was the law. Had he really been the law, he wouldn’t have got ousted at the end of 2009. I’d always assumed Flavio’s radio message was fake anger to cover what he’d done (let’s face it, a legitimate crash by a non-favourite, as Nelson Piquet Jr was, would not result in someone with Flavio’s known personality traits shrugging it off…)

              PK was close enough to the pack that it would have caused problems even if he’d merely spun, because the sight lines weren’t long enough to avoid him.

    12. Flavio the race. But was there a rule in F1 which he broke?

      In case you have watched Indycar, this happened in Indy 500 (openly) more than once with no consequence to anyone.

      1. Yes. The rule was Article 151c of the International Sporting Regulations. Part of this rule prohibits any competitor or entrant (i.e. any driver and any member of any team in F1) from doing anything prejudicial to the sport’s interests. Deliberately crashing, in and of itself, damages F1’s reputation as safety-conscious (something that allowed conservative countries like Singapore to even consider hosting F1 races) and therefore is an automatic breach of Article 151c.

        In that particular era of F1, team orders that manipulated the order of the race (beyond tacitly-permitted exceptions like team-mate swaps designed to enable both of their strategies to work correctly) were deemed a breach of 151c, because F1 was trying to shake off an image of drivers effectively being the puppets of their teams on-track and of having races decided by team management from absurdly early points in the season. It is perhaps a statement of where F1’s psuedopolitics were at the time that this was considered the worse breach of Article 151c.

      2. And in answer to the Indycar question, each series is, to some extent, free to decide what it deems prejudicial to the sport’s interests. Indycar has different sensitivities regarding competitor conduct to F1 because much of its context is different. As such, it would be more surprising if there were no differences between what Indycars and F1 considers prejudicial to the sport’s interests.

    13. If it was so powerful why did you have to fix a race to win it?

    14. MRW I read the roundup title: http://i.imgur.com/9aq5TCz.gifv

    15. Gerulf Dösinger (@)
      8th February 2016, 12:15

      I feel truly honored that my caption was chosen although there were many many good ones to choose from :)

      1. It was really funny! Best caption in a long time.

    16. ColdFly F1 (@)
      8th February 2016, 12:48

      @wildrover84, congratulations!
      Various good ones, but yours a clear winner!

    17. I think Briatore has Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

    18. typical to blame everyone else, reminds me of Lance Armstrong another colossal cheating @rse.

    19. It might be easier for engine manufacturers to come in now, but that does not mean that it is more attractive for them to come in. That is why we have had a net of zero engine manufacturers coming in since the end of 2013, as we lost Cosworth and gained Honda. Other series such as the WEC and Formula E are simply more appealing to engine manufacturers right now.

    20. Yeah history of Formula 1 and FIA is riddled with corruption and scandal. Flavio Briatore teh man of this game.

      I bet somewhere deep inside Bernie of 1970s was proud of him.

      The real reason begind BMW, Toyota leaving mightbe the bad publicity, these political themes leavebehind. Also a repeated reason why VW never got involved.

      In any case, flavio retired, so should other elder statesmen of F1 and FIA. We need younger leaders with less dirt on them.

    21. Formula One might need Briatore, but Briatore clearly doesn’t need Formula One.

      My sides :’D

    22. The human brain is known to create false memories.

    23. Him and Luciano…related to Lucky Luciano by any chance, aha.. Flav the crook.

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